New Year’s Eve is historically one of the absolute busiest times at Walt Disney World. Don’t be scared away by the chaos ... there is plenty of fun be had as you count down to 2020! With lots of Disney World New Year's Eve celebrations, including special dining experiences, fireworks shows and dance parties, no matter which park you jump to, you’re sure to have a hoppin’ good time!
Park-by-Park Rundown of Disney World New Year's Eve Events ... Plus Tips!
Below, we’ve broken down the huge assortment of special dining, parties and other festivities available to ring in the new year in style at Walt Disney World.
New Year's Eve at Epcot
Epcot is by far the most exciting place to be on New Year’s Eve at Disney World. With lots of activities come lots of people. But as one of the largest parks, Epcot is perhaps best suited for them. Plus, we think the crowds are worth managing for these fun-filled festivities. There’s no need to choose ... you can take part in all of these activities for a complete night of celebration.
Epcot New Year's Eve Parties
Walk from Mexico to Canada (and from the old year to the new) at Epcot’s New Year’s Eve parties. DJs will get you into the groove at the American Gardens and Future World Fountain stages. Dance the night away as you sip and savor some of your favorite flavors around World Showcase. These parties are a nice way to add some special fun to your holiday evening between your adventures on Test Track, Soarin’ and more. When it hits midnight in each country's respective pavilion, listen for a festive announcement and watch for a burst of colorful fireworks.
New Year's Countdown Fireworks
The Countdown Fireworks show at Epcot is the most popular way guests celebrate New Year's Eve at Disney World. A countdown to the new year is projected onto Spaceship Earth as fireworks light up the sky. This year, Epcot Forever — the new nighttime spectacular — will be shown twice, immediately followed by the special New Year's Eve display. As of now, the showings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and 11:40 p.m.
Live Music at American Gardens Theatre
American Gardens Theatre hosts a variety of performances throughout the night for the ultimate NYE entertainment.
New Year's Eve at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is the most popular park and will be the most crowded during New Year’s Eve at Disney World. If Magic Kingdom is your park of choice, we recommend you arrive early and stay all day since it is likely to reach capacity for some part of the day. Save your viewing spot for parades and stage shows at least an hour in advance. No matter which park you are in during New Year's Eve at Disney World, make sure to use FastPass+!
Fantasy In The Sky Fireworks
2020 is sure to start with a bang — literally — thanks to Magic Kingdom’s Fantasy in the Sky fireworks. Our whole frog squad loves how wild and colorful this fireworks extravaganza is. Seeing the sky above Cinderella Castle glow with this booming presentation is a truly magical way to celebrate the new year. As a huge fan of the fairytale magic and the sentiment of Magic Kingdom, this is my personal fave.
Magic Kingdom will be showing Fantasy in the Sky fireworks Dec. 30, as well. On both nights, the show starts at 11:50 p.m. — and earlier in the night at 6:30 p.m. That way, if the tadpoles get too tired and can't wait up until midnight, you won't miss the fireworks display!
Frontierland and Tomorrowland New Year's Celebration Dance Parties
On both Dec. 30 and 31, Frontierland and Tomorrowland will be hosting DJs for tadpole-friendly dance parties from 7 p.m. to midnight. We have a feeling a few of our friends from the Briar Patch and the Country Bear Jamboree will make an appearance to do-si-do into the new year, or blast off into 2020 in Tomorrowland. This is a memorable, family-fun way to celebrate an awesome year of fun.
New Year's Eve at Disney's Hollywood Studios
To those frogs out there who routinely visit during New Year's Eve at Disney World, be warned that Hollywood Studios has switched up its usual offerings. Details have yet to be announced for this year's "midnight countdown and a stunning fireworks spectacular." This information is teased online, but as of now, only regular nighttime spectaculars are currently scheduled. The Wonderful World of Animation show is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and 11:35 p.m., and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular has a midnight showing. That being said, Hollywood Studios is a great place to ring in the New Year with more low-key celebrations.
New Year's Eve at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom will be open until midnight this year, so you can "roar in" 2020. You'll find special New Year's Eve-themed food and drinks, and DJs will keep the party hoppin' in Asia, Discovery Island and DinoLand U.S.A. As it gets closer to midnight, everyone can gather around the Tree of Life for a special countdown to 2020 featuring energetic music and lighting effects. Plus, Disney's Animal Kingdom will be offering special pin trading opportunities throughout the day ... and a limited-edition pin to commemorate the occasion!
New Year's Eve at Disney Springs
While there won't be a nighttime spectacular, Disney Springs' special dining and shopping options never disappoint! It wouldn't be a bad idea to catch the Christmas Tree Trail before it goes away Jan. 5, 2020.
New Year's Eve at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney Countdown to Midnight
Countdown to Midnight is a more formal affair taking place in the Fantasia Ballroom. The fun begins at 8 p.m. with a delightful culinary experience, boasting the best bites and wine pairings from Disney’s finest signature restaurants. An assortment of alcoholic beverages is included in the $299 ticket price for guests 21 and over.
An interactive DJ will have you moving and grooving to music spanning from the 1960s to today. When you’re not busting a move on the dance floor or indulging in delicious goodies, you can pose in front of an assortment of festive backdrops. Mickey and Minnie are promised to make an appearance, as well! The night closes with an amazing view of Magic Kingdom’s Fantasy in the Sky fireworks spectacular.
Ink and Paint Club Experience
Offered exclusively as a VIP enhancement to the Disney Countdown to Midnight party, the Ink and Paint Club Experience takes place in a vintage Disney Animation-style room located in The Sorcerer's Apprentice Ballroom. The special reception begins at 7 p.m. and welcomes guests until 11 p.m.
Chef stations feature barbecue-spiced Florida shrimp and grits, pan-seared sablefish, New York strip steak and more ... all included with the $499 admission cost per guest (which is the grand total for both the Disney Countdown to Midnight and the Ink & Paint Club Experience addition).
A pianist will provide live entertainment and guests of honor Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be present for photos with a gorgeous backdrop. Included with the Ink and Paint Club Experience is reserved seating at the Countdown to Midnight event, so you can come and go as you please.
Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve Celebration
To 2020 … and beyond! At $199 per guest (all ages welcome) in the resort's Convention Center (Second Level), this party is certainly a family-friendly festivity. For the kids and kids at heart, enjoy a delicious buffet-style dinner with restaurant-style reserved seating while an interactive DJ spins Radio Disney hits from a Cars-inspired DJ rig straight out of Radiator Springs.
Curious about the menu? There's something yummy for every palate, including Rex’s Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Wall-E’s Pan Seared Grouper, Sulley’s Beast White Cheddar Baked Mac & Cheese, Woody’s Favorite Herb-Roasted Turkey, a build-your-own salad bar, desserts and kid-friendly favorites such as chicken fingers and more.
There will be photo-ops galore as theatrical backdrops, dramatic set pieces and special props immerse you in the world of your favorite Disney Pixar films. You even get to interact with your favorite toys, monsters, superheroes and adventurers. Kids activities include Boot Camp with Sarge, Pixar face painting and a balloon artist who can twist balloons into your favorite Pixar characters.
The event starts at 8 p.m. and comes to a close as you head to Porte Cochere for a viewing of Magic Kingdom’s Fantasy in the Sky fireworks. We highly recommend this event to celebrate 2020 if you have your tadpoles in tow and want to do something special while avoiding the crowds of the parks. With a limited number of guests, this is our pick for a fun, tadpole-friendly celebration that won’t overwhelm you.
Other Fun and Dining During New Year's Eve at Disney World
Toledo at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Join in the rooftop fiesta at the new Toledo restaurant on top of the Gran Destino Tower from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.! Come dressed in your best party clothes and dance to the beat from an electric flamenco guitar or a lively DJ. Enjoy hors d'oeuvres stations that include delectable dishes such as Jamon Iberico, Idiazabal cheese and lots more. As the clock strikes midnight, celebrate traditional Spanish New Year's customs, including a sparkling cava toast. It costs $400 per guest, and advance reservations are recommended.
Mezzanotte at Topolino's: An Italian Masquerade at Disney's Riviera Resort
Toast to the new year atop Topolino's Terrace, the rooftop restaurant at the new Disney's Riviera Resort (recently opened Dec. 16, 2019). At this elegant affair, enjoy European-inspired buffets, food stations, a la carte tapas and more. The menu includes artisanal cheeses, French and Italian charcuterie, handcrafted pastas and more French and Italian specialties. Celebrate with a live DJ and traditional musicians and vocalists from the Italian Riviera. At midnight, you'll be able to view fireworks spectaculars from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Tickets cost $550 per guest, and the event runs from 8 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.
Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's BoardWalk
The over 21 crowd can boogie down from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at this night club. There will be a live DJ, assorted light bites and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight! Mickey and friends may even stop by in their party clothes for photos. The price is $99 per person (not including tax or tips), and reservations are recommended.
New Year's Eve Dinner at the World Showplace Pavilion
Get the countdown to 2020 started with the New Year's Eve buffet dinner at the Epcot World Showplace Pavilion. From 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (note that this is a dinner buffet only and not an all-night event), feast on scrumptious soups and salads and enticing entrees. Menu items include seafood mac and cheese and fried chicken breast with corn gravy, as well as gluten-friendly options such as oven-baked cod, demi braised beef and apple cider brined pork. Kids can chow down on chicken fritters, meatballs and more. There will also be an assortment of desserts, such as dulce de leche, cookies, macaroons and cheesecake! You must have Epcot admission, and the buffet price is not included. It costs $84 per adult and $54 per child.
If none of the above options strikes your fancy, enjoy a calmer celebration with special dining presentations and holiday menus at the following restaurants:
- California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort
- Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort
- Flying Fish at Disney's Boardwalk Inn
- Garden Grove at Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- II Mulino at Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Monsieur Paul within France Pavilion at Epcot
- Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Shula's Steak House at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Todd English's bluezoo Lounge at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Tips for Making the Best of New Year's Eve at Disney World
- While the usual cancellation policy requires a 24-hour notice at Walt Disney World restaurants, many of these special occasion meals require cancellation more than 48 hours in advance. Be sure to read the fine print and be sure of your plans.
- If you’re set on a certain experience in particular, call 407-939-3463 as soon as you’re able to purchase your tickets or book your dining reservations. Advance dining reservations are required for all special holiday meals.
- If you’re attending the fireworks at either Epcot or Magic Kingdom, be sure to bring ear plugs for little ones, or maybe even yourself. (Heck, sunglasses might not hurt either.) These shows are beautiful but can be intense.
- With both Magic Kingdom offerings being presented on the last two days of the year, we recommend knocking these celebrations out Dec. 30 for lesser crowds or to free up your official New Year’s Eve night for other activities. Epcot, anyone?
- Note that at the parks, regular admission is required to access these special events — even if you have a dining reservation.
- Annual Passholder and Tables in Wonderland discounts will not be honored for special holiday meals.
- Disney Dining Plans are accepted at many of the dining locations (NOT parties), but two table-service meals are required per person at most locations.
- Avoid park hopping and arrive at your park of choice early, because there's a good chance that the parks, especially Magic Kingdom, will reach capacity. Last year, Magic Kingdom closed its gates to guests right before noon!
- Allot plenty of extra time for transportation, as parks are extra, extra busy on this day.
- Most of you know the drill of getting your spots for fireworks early on a typical night, but be sure to post up extra early for the New Year’s spectaculars. Not only will there be more people for the special shows, but there are extremely high-volume crowds to begin with.
- As attraction lines will be tremendously long during this peak season, we find waiting on a prime fireworks spot to be the most effective use of time. Of course, we always recommend having a family member grab snacks and drinks to enjoy during the wait!
There are so many hoppin’ activities to choose from to leap into 2020 at Walt Disney World. When we’re at Disney World for a holiday, we really like to take advantage and celebrate in a special, unique way. What do you have planned? Tell us in the comments.